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We are very pleased to have Dr. Olivier Roy join us in San Francisco this evening to discuss Muslims and the west. And if there really is a clash of civilizations as Sam Huntington posited some 14 years ago. Olivier Roy is research director in the humanities and social sciences sector of the Center National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, France and has been a consultant with the French ministry of foreign affairs since 1984. He was special representative of the organization for security and co-operation in Europe, OSCE, in Tajikistan from 1993 to 1994 and headed the OSCE mission to Tajikistan in 1994. He also undertook several journeys to Afghanistan during the mujahidin resistance to the Soviet invasion of 1979 and has embarked in numerous trips to the ex-soviet Central Asian republics notably, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Dr. Roy has delivered lectures and seminars at leading institutions in Europe and the United States and is the author of numerous articles and books including Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan, The Failure of Political Islam, The New Central Asia: The Creation of Nations, and Vers Un Islam Europeen, Globalized Islam, please join me in welcoming Olivier Roy. Thank you very much. Islamists in the west is a consequence of immigration the demographic immigration and I would say recent immigration. There is a big difference between Muslim immigration in America and in Western Europe. In America I would say the Muslim came in global stream of emigrants. There is no specificity in terms of Islam. But in Western Europe clearly the Muslims constitutes the bulk of illegal immigration. Now we mentioned that the big difference between America and Western Europe as far as Islam is concerned is that Mexico is a Christian country. And Huntington by the way is coherent with himself when he consider of it now the issue of the clash of civilization here is more linked with Spanish Latino immigration than with Islam as such. And in Western Europe clearly some people think in terms of clash of civilization with Islam. So what is the specificity of Islam this Muslim immigration because the fact that people do immigrate to another country with their own origin and with their own culture. So the idea is that any immigrant in the course of the time second generations, third generations will become at least integrated and probably assimilated. And now the debate is, "Is Islam a is it possible to integrate or even to assimilate Islam in the west?" Why is is there a specific debate on Islam? Of course it has to do with the present political events. But the debate was on the table before 9/11. So it's not just a consequence of 9/11. In Europe, it has been 20 years that there - has been a debate on Islam and democracy, Islam and feminism, Islam and secularization and things like that, you know. The terrorist attacks and the particular debate now has increased the tensions and has given you know more importance to the intellectual debate. But the debate predates these political events. It's not a consequence you know of the events in the Middle East. So it's why I will not mention at least in my speech, it's open of course for question I think, I will not refer to the events in the Middle East. The idea and its specifically I would say it's the basis of the clash of the civilization thesis is that any culture is hopefully embedded or at least not necessarily embedded but as religious basis and any region is embedded to a specific culture. So we cannot understand the concept of clash of civilization. If we don't understand that in this idea there is a strong connection between a religion and culture. And in sense its common sense. Many people will say, yes it's obvious you know any culture of a religious basis and any religion does express itself into a specific culture. This is precisely this connection that I put into question you know. This is we will as a main theme of my speech tonight. And for many people including most of the experts by the way in Islam this connection between religion and culture is stronger than in any other religions which could explain why it's more difficult to integrate to accommodate Islam than let's say for example, Catholicism in the states during the 19th century and things like that you know. By the way, if we if we refer to the debate the historical debate, its not evident, so people who are not optimistic at that time, they always think that the new immigrants are carrying a new culture and that this new culture will destroy the existing culture and social fabric. But even if we put that you know in a historical in a historical perspective it doesn't change the minds of the people. The people still thinks, yeah yes we have a specific problem with Islam, so its useless to explain them that you know its more complicated, look at the Irish in America in the 19th century, look to the Jews in Western Europe in the 20s and 30s, no they are convinced that there is a specific problem now why because we think and as I said many experts do think I am in the minority I must tell you that in Islam there is a cultural predicament, think that Islam is an old and compassing religion and the consequence is that Muslims cannot you know adapt to different culture, because explicitly religion is in charge of everything. And we have a theological predicament, things that you know Islamic theology is very rigid and cannot adapt to feminism for example, not to speak of course, of the gay rights. So the consequence is that our western societies which are as everybody knows, liberal, open and so and so there is no home for such a religion. I will stop on that you know and my view is if we look at let's take the most radical expression of Islam. We will see after this (indiscernible). Lets take from the mutualism, lets take radicalism, let's even let's even take terrorism you know. I don't want to discard terrorism, from the beginning things are all you know it's just a small minority but it remind and so no its important, even if the people who are terrorists among the Muslims are a small minority. But because they consider themselves as the vulvar of the Muslim community and even if they are rejected by the majority of the Muslims, still the fact that they claim through in the name of Islam is important. No we cannot just ignore that. And if we look now at fundamentalism, both - I would say in its political forms and at - in its but purely religious and cultural forms and you would say that fundamentalism Islamic fundamentalism is not a reaction of a traditional Muslim society against westernization. On the contrary, fundamentalism is a consequence of the deculturation of traditional society. Fundamentalism is a consequence of a crisis in culture and it's not the assertiveness, you know, even the negative assertiveness of a given culture. I will give some examples, take the Taliban in Afghanistan. We know that the Taliban are fundamentalist people, okay. First the Taliban at the beginning, they didn't fight against the west. When the Taliban took the power between '94 and '96, they were in very good relations, in very good terms with the West and specifically with the USA. The fall of Kabul in the hands of the Taliban was applauded by the department at the time, you know. And the Taliban were friendly towards the West and the Americans, we have no problem at Westerners to travel in Afghanistan and out of Taliban. So Taliban were not fighting with the western influence at the beginning. They were fighting against traditional Afghan culture. So Taliban did attack everything that which we can call culture. Cultural for example, arts and literature for instance. They were opposed to novels, you know, things like that. Why do you read the novels, you know. You are of the Quran you don't need to read poetry, novel things like that. Why do you play with - kites? Okay, I always have a problem with that. Why do you play with kite? It looks innocent but it may put you in the position of a (indiscernible) if you kite - you know go to a tree and you have to climb on the tree to take back your kite then you can look by in a (indiscernible) of course with a wall of your neighbor and you can see a woman which is not veiled and then so you've seen her. So you have to destroy your kite, the same for (indiscernible) and things like that, you know. If they think which can separate you from religion as such is negative. So the argument of the Taliban is something which is to be found in all the religions. Religion and culture either it is the same thing. So in this case why do speak about culture? Let's have religion. All religion and culture are not the same things in this case you are aware of culture because it can distract you from religion. So discard culture and it's a message that I would say almost all the religious fundamentalists are carrying on you know beware of culture. Culture is secularized by definition, culture is corruption, culture is distraction from your religious duty. So if you - we look at the Taliban, if we look at the Wahhabi in Saudi Arabia, not the Saudi now but you know, during the 20's, 30's of the 19th century they were also fighting against the very concept of Arab culture the ideas that could be a culture which is not religion as such. And if we look now at the political radicals, the Al Qaeda people, they are western trained, none of them is coming from a religious school, none of them as a traditional Muslim education, they were almost all of them educated in a modern system of education. The pilots of the 09/11 came from Hamburg and they were studying architecture, (indiscernible) and things like that. Most of the radicals and I would say also we can speak about the conservative fundamentalists are born-again. What is a born-again? The born-again is somebody who says my previous life has no interests. My schooling has no interests, my knowledge, I have no interest. But it means also that what my family, what my grandfathers, my parents taught me has no interest. I have the truth I have the truth now myself immediately as an individual. I don't need to study. So truth may have different names, the Bible - Jesus Christ, the Prophet - the Quran, but it's the truth. And so truth which is not mediated by your schooling system, by your culture, by your PhD or anything like that, you don't need to go to school. You have an immediate truth. So most of the fundamentalist movement are on tired intellectualists. They despise intellectualism. They think that its - at the best useless at worst a fight, the fight for the purity of your faith. And al though they mention which is very important convictions people don't convert to Mujahid. They don't covert to Mujahid forms of religion. When you convert you want to have the two things. And - so in a sense the more converts you will find in an organization, the more radical is this organizations and the highest level of - the highest percentage of converts among any Muslim organization is Al Qaeda. You have there is a report of the Nixon Foundation in Washington, they calculated that 10 percent of the Al Qaeda's people are converts. In Western Europe, my own estimates, not very scientific, but okay - my own estimates goes through 20 percent - 25 percent. It's very important. It show that you don't become a radical because you are traditional Muslims who has a problem of adapting to westernization and modernity or because you are a Palestinian who is constantly fighting against the Israelis and one day decides to blow up their weapons on them, no. There is no one Palestinians in Al Qaeda, no one Iraqi, no one Afghan. The member of Al Qaeda I want to call de-territorialized people. There are guys who are coming from a country who went - who are born in a country, went to another country where you captured in the third country and you fight in the fourth country. No one Al Qaeda guys - maybe some exceptions, but you know I have 30 minutes to explain all that. So I have to simplify. Take a good example in France, its about of the Muslims people are the half north African background and it would be - not many, but some hundreds of young boys with an Algerian background became a radical, Mujahid and they wanted to go for Jihad. None of them did go back to Algeria which is very interesting, because if you are - if you want to fight for jihad and you have an Algerian grandfather, it means that you are a village of origin that your family knows people, that you can't - you might also still speaks the language. So it would be a good idea to go back. None of them did go back. Where did they go? They go to Bosnia, they go to Chechnya, they go to Kashmir, they go to Afghanistan and some of them are trying to go to Fallujah now. They are not interested, you know, in this idea of reconnecting themselves with the culture of origin, with the family and can't tie, they want to break, you know, they don't want be sent to go back to the village and to find an old uncle who will tell you about your grandfather, your grandmother, your family and so and so. They don't want that, you know. Its general pattern among young revolutionaries, you know, they hate uncle, you know. Sometimes they have big brothers but they don't like uncles. So what we see that a phenomenon of radicalization is link in fact with voluntary or de- facto deculturation, it's not the expression of a traditional Muslim culture. On the contrary is the endeavor to recast in political terms a Muslim identity. But here Islam is not religion as such, it's more I would say some sort of an ideology. And what they are targeting is exactly what extreme left used to target 35 years ago when I was a young student, you know. As the targets also sent the American imperialism you know, among all the thing, you know but it has little to do with Palestine as such which is very interesting, you know, to see that almost we have only two example of second generation Muslims in Europe going to Palestine, Israel to fight. But we have hundreds and thousands of examples of these young guys going to Bosnia, Chechnya, Kashmir, Afghanistan and they will go everywhere you know. We have those thought jihad too, you know, where is the best jihad now? Where is the fashionable jihad? Where you should be seen as going as coming from? But all of the Muslims in the west are not terrorists, you know. Few of them are. What do the others? What about the others? We - we are also in this, how to say, situation of disconnect between the religion and culture. Let's take some examples. Not to if a second generation Muslim youth in Europe as I said, is a terrorist some of them do business. You know, some of them have successful stories. They open business they go with their classes on. When the let's take any example, if they open five star restaurant, it's never never never the traditional Muslim restaurant. A young American will never open a a good, a a Never, never they do. What do they do is fast-food. They open a open a fast-food, but a halal fast-food, you know. And we have for instant I think an interesting example in Paris you know. It's a Muslim Mc Beurger. So you have people game, of veils it's in English, which is very interesting you know. I am not translating. Its written Muslim McBeurger, because English is fashionable. If you don't want to be French you have to speak English you know that habit but they consider themselves as French. Mc you know why, you know, B-E-U-R it's because "BEUR" is slang for Arab in France. Now, and "GER" because it's (indiscernible) by that way they have two suites. You know one from McDonald, and the other from McDaniel or something like that you know. They may win they may win. And and it's a fast-food, the female waitresses may wear the Veil but they have the - you know, classic you know uniform of a fast-food waitress. The food is halal and that's all, you know. In my home home town, one (indiscernible) decided 10 years ago I go to open a kebab. And they called it as a Kebab, Halal Greek Sandwiches. None of them were Greek but for them, they didn't want you know to look at ethnic. And for that the Greek sandwich the meat roll is perfect. The important thing is halal. So what do we see is the veil affair of course its CafÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â© in France, it's exactly the same thing. The religious must go the hijab is disconnected with traditional culture. It's not the hijabs are not the veil of the (indiscernible) its other thing to do. So don't we have the veil because they are obliged by the - by the parents to wear the veil, you know. Most of the time, these girls are - they are totally of course, they are westernized, totally French. They are they are good in class. They are very well educated, they are making the best school children and suddenly, they wear the veil you know. And, the the biggest affair was in 2004 and as you know, it has to figure how is it involved of a law, you know, to ban the veil in a Secondary School. And the two sisters came to school, with a veil, one day - the day before they did not have the veil. One day, they came with a veil. Their name was Levy you know. So it's difficult to speak of the backlash of traditional Muslim culture in these cases. They were converts they were converts. And it's why it has to figure out such a debate because it did had something to do with the traditional culture. That would have been negotiable and understandable. But the fact that somebody who have nothing to do with a traditional Muslim culture, suddenly appeared on the middle of the public scene. You know with an extensible and sometimes more than some people (indiscernible) sign of religious assertiveness. That is an acceptable in such a secular but it is secular society as French society. So what do we see in what do we see now is not of that I would say, the assimilation of traditional Muslim culture into western society, no. What do we see now, these - that the casting of religious values in deculturated on (indiscernible). And this - so they speak in terms of values far more than (indiscernible). And this is the sensing - well, that's we are observing now among all fundamentalism, Christian, Catholic and Protestants, Jewish fundamentalism. They don't want to create the religious society. They don't fight for religious state. What they want is recognition of religious values and some needs of a secular society, you know. So there is a two - for me the true diverse are individualism and not you know traditional cultures of communities. If the content insists, all these religious fundamentalisms are in fact based on individual choices on individual conversions, on individuals who became born again. It's not a communalism, it's not a community phenomena. It's on the contrary it's a consequence of the crisis of the traditional social fabric and on the individualization of our societies. So in the sense we have a process of westernization because it's the process of individualization. And the second step to built, to create face communities, this face communities are built under voluntary basis. They are not you know the translation of the traditional communities. And we have for instance a change in its national terms. The - the leader of of this self communities are not traditional leaders, these are young guys. Well, and then we do not have necessarily the legitimacy. So it was just like you must see to become leaders. Interestingly, it's the same thing with the Taliban. Taliban means students. So Taliban I am not highly (indiscernible) and when the Taliban took the power, they used to fight against the traditional fabric - against the traditional Taliban leaders. Two - so we have a change of the direction, change of leadership and the change is the conception of the relations between the religion and the State. All this fundamentalism and they reached up here in the west. So, Christian, Jewish, Muslim they do acknowledge the - the secularization of the society. They don't want to be secular themselves. They may consider that the secularization is bad thing. But they all consider themselves as a minority. It's something which is which is very interesting you know. If you are ask a born-again, he always would explain you you, that he is an minority. Even here, you know that is San Francisco. But even in America, you know that he is in a secular environment, he is under a secular culture. Even if 70 percent of the Americans claim to be a believer also - all the fundamentalists will tell you no- no no, our society is secular, our culture is secular. And it's very interesting that here the aim is not necessarily to take the state power to create a religious society. No, it's to - of course to try to promote as the values religious values in the [00:27:55] (indiscernible) also. But to try to live to experience his of a - own life, in a purely or just context, you know. I want to be a one of that believer in the society which is not and which will never become religious society. So here we have clearly obliged with the politically Islamized movements that Hezbollah and things like that who think that they can have an Islamic society. That's because it's possible to establish an Islamic state. But the fundamentalist into the west they have given up, you know this idea of creating an Islamic state or regional state because they consider they have internal eyes that more exactly the idea yeah - yes, the society is secular. So they have a very pessimistic view of their future. They are not revolutionary. They don't think that you can create a perfect society next day. No. They think that the only thing they can do is to get individual salvation you know, to be saved hence importance of the issue of salvation among all of the fundamentalists. By contrast was the idea of creating, you know, a better society by applying religious principles to politics and society. So in the sense, the fundamentalists are very pessimistic and it's good for secularization.